(Milwaukee) On the west wall of Magic Foods, located at 2879 N. 16th St., young residents will unveil their inspirational imagery to counter the alcohol and tobacco advertisements that are prevalent in their neighborhood. The Milwaukee Reality Check Coalition (MRCC), led by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, will officially unveil an original piece entitled, “The Community Empowerment Mural,” during a special ceremony outside the store on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. The mural represents eight weeks of creatively depicting how the community can be a tool of empowerment in teens’ lives.
MRCC is dedicated to preventing youth substance use and abuse. It uses a community focused approach and environmental strategies to address teen substance use. MRCC also works with city residents to identify problem stores and connect them to law enforcement for resolution. In addition, it provides resources to law enforcement, storeowners and community members so they can also serve as advocates for teens who desire to live alcohol and tobacco free.
Young people from the North Division High School Boys & Girls Club and other youth-serving organizations such as Walnut Way Conservation Corps, Hephatha Lutheran Church, Hopkins Street School, Shalom High School and Safe & Sound Inc. designed the mural to counter the alcohol and tobacco billboard advertisements near their homes and schools. The groups are all partners in the Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Initiative, which is supported by the Joseph & Vera Zilber Family Foundation. MRCC’s community partners also include the Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office- Community Prosecution Unit.
In addition to reflecting the thoughts of young artists/activists, the mural serves as a token of appreciation to Magic Foods. The corner store has been supportive of MRCC’s efforts while also thriving as a neighborhood business. In September, Magic Foods was among the businesses that were part of MRCC’s first Certified Alcohol Servers Training (CAST) for stores in the Lindsay Heights area. MRCC is also leading local efforts for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s “Above the Influence” campaign.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is the oldest and largest youth-serving agency in Milwaukee. It offers after-school and summer programming for children ages 5-18, focusing on those who have major life obstacles, most often poverty. The Clubs operates 40 sites, which include six primary locations, 32 school sites, Camp Whitcomb/Mason in Hartland and an extension site at the Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales. Membership to the Clubs is only $5 per year, per child, but no one is ever turned away based on inability to pay. For more information, visit the Clubs’ Web site at www.boysgirlsclubs.org.